Department of Misquoted Theater People | Letters | Chicago Reader

Department of Misquoted Theater People 

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To the editors:

Once again, Lewis Lazare gets it wrong in pursuit of the dirt. I should have known better than to even talk to the guy. He misquoted me, just to give things a little more dramatic punch, more punch than they deserved [The Culture Club, March 22]. I never said there wasn't a theater movement here anymore--what I said was, there doesn't seem to be as much movement in the theater movement as there used to be. Maybe not a big difference, but big enough to me.

There is definitely still a theater scene in this town, I'm just not sure that it's quite as vital or well-fed as it was a few years ago. It's funny that Lewis refers to it as the theater "industry"--and maybe there's something to that. I think it was more like a "community" not so long ago, and maybe now it is more like an "industry"--which I don't think is really a good thing.

Just about every theater artist in Chicago leaves town eventually, even if only for a little while--it's pretty much always been that way, it probably always will. The "exodus" isn't new or nearly as dramatic as Lewis thinks.

I've been here ten years now--and most of the truly great theater I've seen in my life has been right here, born and bred in Chicago. Pretty much everything I've learned as a playwright, I've learned here.

For all rights and purposes, this is my adopted hometown--and right now, at this point in my life, it's just time to move on for a little while. And that's not news, not even the gossip column variety.

Lewis made me feel like I walked into somebody's living room, ate a big bowl of sour grapes--and pissed on the rug.

Rick Cleveland

N. Glenwood

Lewis Lazare replies:

Rick Cleveland knows as well as I do that I went over with him line by line the item on his departure from Chicago and that I made substantial changes at his request. I appreciate his contributions to the theater in Chicago through the years, but I regret that he did not have the courage of some of his convictions about the theater community here when he saw them in print.

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